And in BBC2’s sitcom Upstart Crow, comedian David Mitchell is returning to the Elizabethan stage as that little-known, struggling playwright: Will Shakespeare.
Fully of pantomime performances and Bard-y jokes, Upstart Crow – a reference to one of Shakespeare’s real-life rivals who branded him “an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers” – is returning for a third series. Here’s everything you’ll need to know.
Upstart Crow airs on Wednesdays on BBC2 at 8.30pm.
What’s the show about?
Chock full of modern parallels – perhaps best demonstrated by the running gag of Will’s arduous coach journeys from London to Stratford, an allusion to modern-day commuting troubles – Upstart Crow viewers will recognise references to Blackadder and The Office, like William Kempe (portrayed by Spencer Jones), a comic actor and parody of Ricky Gervais.
Ben Elton’s Upstart Crow follows Mitchell’s Will Shakespeare, a (surprise surprise) playwright, alongside his family and the actors in his various plays, starting with Romeo and Juliet back in the first series.
Harry Enfield (The Windsors) is particularly amusing as Will’s idiotic father, John. Game of Thrones’ Gemma Whelan plays Kate, daughter of Will’s London landlord, who aspires to be an actress. The casual sexism directed at Kate and her acting aspirations provide another running gag for the show. Mitchell, Enfield and Whelan are joined by a starry cast, including Liza Tarbuck and Mark Heap.
Check out this series one clip to see Enfield in action as John Shakespeare
What’s going to happen in the third series – and who’s guest-starring ?
Will’s back, and this time he’s armed with a brand new play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The only trouble is that all his players think it’s rubbish – and Kate just isn’t sold on Puck enchanting Titania.
Kenneth Branagh and Lily Cole have also signed up to appear in this year’s Upstart Crow Christmas special, following Emma Thompson’s guest appearance as Elizabeth I in last year’s Yuletide treat.
Adrian Edmondson (Bottom), Montserat Lombard (Inside No. 9) and Ben Miller (Armstrong and Miller) are also all set to guest-star during the third series.